Award Winning Scottish Biologist Speaking Out On COVID-19 Recovery Curriculum for Schools
Joanna McFarlane, eminent Fife-based biologist and conservationist, has been invited to speak on the changing face of education due to COVID-19, as part of the Schools Recovery Curriculum Summit.
Joanna McFarlane, who pre-COVID-19 delivered her Wild Planet Explorers’ Biology Lessons, in person, to children in schools throughout Scotland, initially securing sponsorship from Scottish Water, to cover her groundbreaking lessons that encourage children to become the biologists of the future, has taken part in the trial of a groundbreaking new method of delivering education that is led by teachers, both in school and at home, called Blended Learning. American schools have named it the Flexi-Physical Schooling Method, whereby lessons are led by Teachers delivering e-Learning Packages both in a school setting as well as guiding families and pupils through the programmes online at home. The Method has been trialled during the COVID-19 Lockdown in both England and America and the results have been very promising as a potential answer to schools coping with future lockdowns or as a way to catch up lost learning as a result of school closures.
In 2019, Joanna McFarlane was a finalist in the prestigious Nature of Scotland Awards. McFarlane is the recipient of the prestigious eduCCate Global Planet Award for Outstanding Leaders in Sustainability & Climate Change Education 2020, recognising her work as a global leader of environmental education to deliver outstanding content, learning and thought-provoking methods to engage with children, schools and their communities on sustainability, climate change, adaptation and mitigation, which has resulted in the opportunity to develop her very own Blended Learning Programmes to deliver her Wild Planet Explorers Lessons to children aged 3 to 17 as Teacher Led e-Packages.
The Wild Planet Explorers Programmes, exclusively developed by Joanna McFarlane, are her very own “One Biologist On A Mission Project”, to deliver biology as a communication tool that inspires children to not only care for their marine environment, spark their love of biology as a means to ensure the future sustainability of communities and get them to take action to conserve the animals she shares facts about in her engaging lessons.
McFarlane has delivered her Wild Planet Explorers sessions, in person, to thousands of children from the age of three and upwards in primary schools, secondary schools, nurseries, Scout groups, Guide groups and festivals. A truly remarkable feat considering she has taken this mantle on as her very own personal Mission Statement.
McFarlane has been recognised in the What’s on 4 Kids Awards, Fife Chamber of Commerce Awards, Nature of Scotland Awards (twice as a finalist in 2018 and 2019) for Education and Community Engagement.
The Founders of Harwood Education, Melanie Harwood and Denise Meissner, say that they instantly recognised McFarlane’s outstanding credentials but were most impressed by her method of delivery of her Wild Planet Explorers Lessons to children as young as 3. “She is one to watch, as she delivers such a punch in her method of delivery that we were both crying, laughing, dancing and joining in with the children when we watched an online lesson delivered by Joanna McFarlane. We asked ourselves if it was engaging and exciting for two mums like us, then would the children taking part in her lessons engage with the underlying message of caring for their planet? We both agreed that they most certainly would and signed her up immediately!”
When asked for a comment on how she feels about her achievement, the self-effacing biologist said, “It is so very nice to be recognised for my work, as this is my passion. My Wild Planet Explorers Programmes, as they were before they became online learning packages for schools, were until recently, based in Fife, Scotland, on the banks of the Firth of Forth, where dolphins, porpoises, seals, seabirds and other wildlife are seen regularly, which I attribute to my inspiration to teach children about these animals’ biological responses to the effects of climate change and man-made pollution.
Receiving the prestigious eduCCate Global Planet Award for Outstanding Leaders in Sustainability & Climate Change Education 2020, gave me the impetus to launch my Wild Planet Explorers Programmes as two of the very First Blended Learning Packages to schools, as I can only achieve so much by going from school to school, in person, and I now have the confidence to extend my lessons globally, not only to the wonderful Scottish schools that have been so very welcoming to me, and this is a really exciting development! For both my Wild Planet Explorers Juniors (3 to 9 Years) and my Wild Planet Explorers Kids (9 to 17 years) Programmes to become Blended Learning/Flexi-Physical Schooling Programmes was more than I could ever have dreamed happening. To make such a difference now with the way that education has had to adapt due to COVID-19, is going to be a game-changer for the way schools will teach children biology from here onwards.”
For more information about Joanna McFarlane’s Talk at the Recovery Curriculum For Schools Virtual Summit here:
Notes for the Editor:
About Harwood Education
Harwood Education delivers innovative and outstanding education resources, programmes, education technology, training and learning schemes to the entirety of the education sector as well as direct to the home learning sector, both in the UK and International markets focussing on sustainability and climate change education. Harwood Education was created by social entrepreneurs and education specialists, Melanie Harwood and Denise Meissner, to deliver meaningful and impactful education experiences for the betterment of our world.
Wild Planet Explorers
Wild Planet Explorers Juniors (For Children Aged 3 to 9 Years) is a unique series of eight lessons delivered by award winning biologist, environmentalist and conservationist, Joanna McFarlane. The sessions are fun educational and interactive. Sharing animal biology and conservation facts using interactive props, activities and imaginative play to learn facts. The Wild Planet Explorer Juniors sessions are designed to be fun and memorable to help children retain scientific facts and understand what they can do in their lives to take action to help the animal and their habitats that are covered in their specific lessons and make change happen. Sessions use pop music, where possible, alongside creative, physical and participatory activities.
Wild Planet Explorers Kids (For Children Aged 9 to 17 Years) is a unique series of eight lessons delivered by award winning biologist, environmentalist and conservationist, Joanna McFarlane delivering a dynamic biology habitat and conservation presentation that covers different conservation stories. McFarlane relates each story to the children’s lives and what actions they can make to make change happen.
Wild Planet Explorers Kids teaches older children, in a clear and calm way, with humour, movement and Joanna’s “Match The Stats!” to discover how our planet needs our help to recover.
Both the Wild Planet Explorers Programmes are unique in that they are subscribed to by schools as Blended Learning/Flexi-Physical Schooling (Teacher Led eLearning Packages) which can be delivered both in school as well as part of a school managed home online learning project, in the event of a lockdown or extra-curricular learning, as deemed necessary by the subscribing school leadership.
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